The issue of Title VII preemption is not handled consistently by the courts, but there is precedent in the Seventh Circuit -- binding on the federal courts in Illinois -- that withholds Title IX remedies in cases where employees allege sex discrimination by their employer, reasoning that Congress intended the mechanisms of Title VII enforcement (which include first seeking relief from the EEOC) to apply instead.
Second, the court reasoned that even if the Title IX claims were not preempted, Ludlow had not alleged facts that suggest that the university's response in investigating the graduate student's claim had anything to do with his male sex, but instead, because the charge against him was rape.
Doe says Kipnis’s book suggests that she had a consensual dating relationship with Ludlow and later filed a fraudulent Title IX complaint against him as a means of revenge.
Doe claims nothing could be further from the truth.
On Thursday, the attorney of an NU graduate student said his client might sue the University under Title IX, which would mark the second such suit against the administration this year.
As the first progresses slowly through the court system, students and professors have taken matters into their own hands.
NU said it was unaware of the allegations against Knowles but will review the matter.
In interviews, NU administrators said it’s difficult to learn professors’ past disciplinary records in a hiring process complicated by privacy laws and heavily focused on candidates’ academic merit.
Northwestern University broke a cardinal rule of campus litigation last week: it issued a press release responding to specific allegations in a student's lawsuit, which accuses the institution of violating Title IX and failing to discipline a tenured professor who sexually assaulted her.
"While Northwestern does not typically comment to the media on pending litigation," officials said in a statement, "the university has noted that this complaint included substantial inaccuracies, which have been reported in the media and commented upon by the plaintiff’s counsel who filed the lawsuit." Perhaps odder still, Northwestern admitted in the court filing it released that the professor, Peter Ludlow, did indeed violate the university's sexual harassment policy. Ludlow, after receiving sanctions including a pay freeze and prohibition of sexual relationships with students, which aren't normally banned at Northwestern, is on his way to a new university.
She is currently a junior studying journalism, and was a freshman at the time of the alleged incidents.
“Northwestern admits that it conducted a prompt and thorough investigation of the allegations that plaintiff brought to its attention,” Northwestern’s answer to the lawsuit says, “substantiated some, but not all, of those allegations, found that Ludlow had violated the university’s policy against sexual harassment; and imposed several disciplinary sanctions and other corrective actions against Ludlow.” Ludlow, meanwhile, may be about to start a new job teaching philosophy at Rutgers University.
A series of interviews conducted by the investigator with department staff painted Knowles as “volatile” and described violations of Ohio State’s policies on sexual harassment and workplace violence.